Alba called up for Spain qualifiers

MADRID - Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Valencia full-back Jordi Alba for the first time for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers in Czech Republic and at home to Scotland.

The zippy 22-year-old, who normally plays on the left, has proved his ability in defence and attack for his club and shown consistency for Spain's junior teams, Del Bosque told a news conference on Friday.

"He is on good form and we want to have a closer look at him," said the former Real Madrid coach.

"We want to gather as much information as we can as we prepare for the European Championship so we make as few errors as possible."

Del Bosque has the luxury of being able to experiment as the holders have already qualified for next year's finals in Ukraine and Poland with two games to spare and top Group I with a perfect 18 points from six matches.

The Czechs are second on 10 points and Scotland third on eight, with both nations still in with a chance of qualifying.

The Scots need three more points from their trips to Liechtenstein and Spain than the Czechs manage at home to the world champions and in Lithuania.

Spain's game against the Czechs is in Prague on October 7 and the match against Scotland in Alicante four days later.

Del Bosque's 23-man squad contains nine Barcelona players including club captain Carles Puyol and his partner in central defence Gerard Pique.


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool)

Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Valencia)

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)

Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), David Villa (Barcelona), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Juan Mata (Chelsea).